The US H1-B visa program, which will begin accepting applications for 2013 next week, is a hot-button issue in high-tech. Proponents of the program, which allows highly skilled foreign employees to work in the US, complements the US workforce. Opponents say the program has been exploited to bring in workers that are paid less than their US counterparts and displaces qualified American workers.
Last March, Associate Professor Ronil Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology, testified before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. These are excerpts from his testimony:
I have concluded that the H-1B program, as currently designed and administered, does more harm than good. To meet the needs of the U.S. economy and U.S. workers, the H-1B visa program needs immediate and substantial overhaul.
The principal goal of the H-1B visa program is to bring in foreign workers who complement the US workforce. Instead, loopholes in the program have made it too easy to bring in cheaper foreign workers, with ordinary skills, who directly substitute for, rather than complement, workers already in America. They are clearly displacing and denying opportunities to US workers.
Furthermore, program loopholes provide an unfair competitive advantage to companies specializing in offshore outsourcing, speeding up the process of shipping high-wage, high-tech jobs overseas. It has disadvantaged companies that primarily hire American workers and forced those firms to accelerate their own offshoring, threatening America’s capacity to innovate and ability to create sufficient high-wage, high-technology jobs.
Hira outlined four design flaws with the program, which I have summarized below:
No labor market test. Employers are not required to show that American workers are unavailable before hiring foreign workers through the H1-B visa program.
Wage requirements are too low. A recent GAO study found that the majority of H1-B applications were reserved for entry-level positions -- "hardly a wage level that the 'best and brightest' would earn."
Work permits are held by the employer. An H1-B worker's legal status in the country is dependent on the employer, rather than the worker, giving inordinate power to the employer.
The visa period is too long. H1-B visas are issued for three years and are renewable for another three years. The visas can be extended indefinitely.
Hira also testified that other visa programs, such as L-1, B-1, and OPT, are also badly in need of an overhaul. Actions recommended include requiring a regular test of the US labor market; paying guest workers true market wages; limiting the visas to three years with no renewal; eliminating access to additional H1-B visas for H1-B dependent firms; and instituting sensible oversight, including regular audits, of guest worker visa programs.
"The lobbyists supporting the H1-B visa program have repeatedly made claims that the program is needed because there is a shortage of American workers with the requisite skills and that the foreign workers being imported are the best and the brightest," Hira concluded. "If that is indeed the case, then those employers should not object to these sensible reforms."
Its definitely not easy, not easy at all. But its also not a sudden change... but the illegal workforce is also needed (or are americans willing to work the long hours in the field, with the sun and the heat?)
Also, there's an increment in people studying "soft" careers. That't not getting it done.
Well, you're entitled to your own opinion. Although, I agree there should be an immigration reform, its too easy for people that are willing to break the law, to enter the US... and to hard for people that want to work there.
Here's some more news on the Trade wars front-EU is taking Argentina to the WTO.
from Bloomberg: EU will probably file challenge at WTO in coming weeks, spurred by separate dispute over YPF nationalization, person with knowledge of plan says. Other WTO members may join action, person says NOTE: Argentina has subjected growing number of imports to licensing regulations since 2008, drawing objections from EU, U.S., Japan, other WTO members
Things are starting to unravel super-fast for Global Trade (next up The US in an Election Year vs China) and with it-Global Growth and the Electronics Industry too bites the Dust...
As the World Economy slides back into Recession these disputes are just going to get uglier and uglier,next up France which is moving to tighten Border Controls and reduce the effects of Global Trade on its Economy.
Wakjob, I think it’s better to talk in terms of technology rather than citizens. For the growth of any country, technology advancements are important. So many countries are offering packages to companies for FDI and to attract the talent. I know many Americans, Russians, Germans, Indian etc are working for other countries with a unified mentality of technological growth. For most of them salary and other perks are secondary.
US government is offering different levels of Visas, inorder to attract talent pools. So I think it has to keep this option in open, let them come and work. Why should we worry about their spending nature, any way they have to spend a part of their earnings as tax and towards living cost.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.